Police Block Streets in Jerusalem towards Anti-Netanyahu Protests

Thousands of citizens of Israel protested against far-right Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday evening, December 12, for the 25th consecutive week of mass demonstrations. In Jerusalem alone, a crowd numbering thousands protested outside of the PM’s official residence in Paris Square despite police having blocked several traffic arteries near the his home, including Ben Maimon, Gaza, Agron, King George and Keren HaYesod streets.

Police barricades block the progress of protesters as they approach the PM's official residence in Jerusalem, Saturday night, December 13, 2020.

Police barricades block the progress of protesters as they approach the PM’s official residence in Jerusalem, Saturday night, December 13, 2020. (Photo: Crime Minister)

“Crime Minister,” one of the movements that has been leading the protests since their beginning issued a statement saying, “Tonight, we will be holding a siege on Balfour yet again. These are fateful days for the country’s future. The defendant is trying to avoid a round of elections that will lead to his downfall … Bibi, as long as you hold Israel hostage, we will be there. We will come from every direction. We’ll surround you until you leave!”

Another thousand demonstrators gathered near Netanyahu’s home in Caesarea carrying a huge red balloon 100 meters in length to symbolize the “red line” that they claim Netanyahu has crossed. Several hundred more assembled in Tel Aviv’s Habima Square, in Jaffa, and at other locations throughout the city. Demonstrations also took place in Arab towns in the Galilee and the Triangle, where Hadash and Communist Party activists held “red flag protests” calling on Netanyahu to resign because of his incitement of racism and the corruption charges for which he has been indicted and is currently on trial.

Protesters demonstrated outside the Rosh Ha’ayin home of Defense Minister Benny Gantz who earlier this year agreed to form a government with Netanyahu even after having vociferously campaigned on a platform of replacing him. This previous betrayal of his voters suddenly garnered new relevance this week, with Netanyahu now ostensibly preferring to put off new elections, because of his own personal political situation since the decision of senior Likud MK Gideon Sa’ar to leave the party and found his own, with the primary goal of replacing Netanyahu. Gantz and Blue & White may once again take the bait, because of their own political woes. A statement issued by the Black Flag towards last Saturday’s protests read: “The situation is ripe for replacing Netanyahu. It is the duty of everyone who sees the endless damage being left behind by the defendant. The State of Israel needs a new prime minister, one who will allow us to come out of this unmanaged coronavirus crisis; one who will stop constantly dividing us. The idea of Gantz extending Netanyahu’s reign is terrible, unbearable. We need a different prime minister – not more of the same endless failure.” Other demonstrations took place in Haifa, Holon, Ramat Gan and other cities and at intersections, overpasses and squares across Israel.

Police said they arrested four people following an altercation during a protest in Haifa. According to Haaretz, the detainees were three protesters and a resident of Haifa. Another four activists were arrested in Jerusalem.

A statue inspired by an iconic photo of a demonstrator against Netanyahu was installed in Tel Aviv on Thursday, December 10, after the Jerusalem municipality took it down from its original location near the premier’s residence. The sculpture, which is based on a photograph of a protestor holding Israel’s national flag being hit by a deluge of water shot from a water cannon, was installed in Rabin Square with the permission of the Tel Aviv municipality.